Spark Ignited: Albemarle goes on the road to knock off Potomac Falls

Finding themselves down 10 at the end of the 4th quarter in a hostile environment, all to an undefeated Potomac Falls team that ended their season a year ago, the Albemarle boys basketball team needed a spark on offense to keep their remarkable season alive.


Ben Wesson provided much of what was needed.


The senior guard erupted in the 4th quarter, including two game-clinching plays on both ends of the floor to send Albemarle to the Class 5 State Final Four in a 61-58 win.


Oh, and he also notched his 1,000th career point in the process.


The Panthers came out hot, finding cutters on multiple sets and hitting outside shots to give them an early advantage, especially in transition. Wesson nailed his first three of the game from the volleyball line at the buzzer to cut Potomac Falls lead to 19-17, but the Panthers momentum carried them to a 36-29 halftime advantage.


The Panthers created more separation in the 3rd, cruising to a 50-40 lead. Wesson nailed a step back three, then found Isaiah Harris on a fastbreak to cause a Potomac Falls timeout and cut the lead to five. The Patriots got another stop, and Wes Gobble finished on the other end to make it a 7-0 run.


A large part of Albemarle’s postseason run has included trying to get Gobble back into their rotation since an injury halfway through the season. Though he comes off the bench now, Gobble’s spark has been huge offensively in the playoffs. He proved it further by making a pull up trey to make it 52-50 with 5:19 to play.


Still down three with four minutes left, Harris drove in and hit a nice shot after a pump fake that sent his defender flying and made it a one-point game. Potomac Falls finished on the other end to make it 58-55, but it would be their last points of the game, scored at the 3:22 mark.


Wesson drove and finished on the other end, and after another Patriot stop after the Panthers tried to wind down the clock, Gobble found Wesson at the top of the key after a pump-fake of his own for three to give the Patriots the lead for good with 49.8 seconds left. Potomac Falls couldn’t convert and Gobble went 1-for-2 at the line with under ten seconds to make it a three point game.


The Panthers drew up a great play to get a shooter open in the right corner for a potential game-tying shot, but Wesson flew out of nowhere and rejected it with 3.6 seconds left. Albemarle secured the rebound and although they couldn’t convert at the line, Potomac Falls full court heave came up short and sent the Patriots to the Final Four.


For Albemarle, Wesson torched the Panthers for 27 points that got him to the 1,000 point mark, along with 8 boards. Gobble added 9, Noah Grevious notched seven points to go with six boards. The Patriots moved to 24-4 with the win and will play LC Bird, the team that beat them in the Region 5C Championship last week with a 75-64 win. Albemarle played LC Bird in the state semifinals back in 2017, where the Skyhawks eeked out a 61-59 double overtime win.